Saturday, May 14, 2011

so as not to get blocked

So it may or may not have been nearly two years since my last login. I have an inside tip that blogging is about to experience a big renaissance so it's high time I put something back on the page. That and the fact that at least one person vowed to block my blog should I continue to neglect it.

I'm curious as to how many people (besides black market pharmaceutical purveyors and
African princes) continue to look at this on a regular basis. And while all good blog posts should contain at least one secret, here's one from for this entry: I still look at this site every day and have continued to do so for years. Why? Because my tech development, in many respects, seems to have stalled out in it's adolescence. Yes, I'm on facebook and everyblock and twitter and yelp and the chainlink and countless far less worthwhile sites but part of me seems to have been left behind in 2005. I check this blog every day for the blog roll. The blog roll that's totally outdated, only contains a few worthwhile links, and that I have no idea how to change. Additionally, I have a flip-phone, I subscribe to 0 readers and only learned recently how to use hashtags. Here I am, exposed.

Besides a good secret, every blog post should contain current goings-on in the writers life that are of no importance to anyone but the user. First off, I'm a candidate to become League Certified Bicycle Instructor. It sounds like something those with a good amount of knowhow are awarded with but in reality, I paid a sum of money and passed a test. Next weekend I'll engage in a 24 hour seminar where I'm judged on my teaching skills, technique, and depth of knowledge. Honestly, I'm pretty scared. About a year ago I decided that since I may not have any specialized skills, I might want to consider teaching and I'm, at least in part, using this opportunity given to me to see how that goes. I'll keep you posted. Or not. Immediately after that, I see Bonnie Prince Bill play a free show on what happens to be my 6th wedding anniversary. Then, I slog through a major event hosted by my employer. That Friday I'm seeing Rebirth Brass Band at SPACE in Evanston. Now, time for ice cream.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

On the Dylan Show

Saturday night I attended my first ever Dylan concert. When telling friends and family over the last several weeks I've received a variety of responses. Some (typically more familiar with his newer work) expressed excitement and envy while others warned me about Bob being 'washed-up,' a shell of his former self.

Before I write a proper review, I must state my position. Yes, I like newer Dylan records as well as the classics. Yes, I tried to lower my expectations before the show because I fully recognized that I was seeing a 68 year old man in concert. Yes, I had fun, but no, I probably won't go again. No regrets, though, honestly.

Bob moved gingerly around the stage, spending the majority of the night clinging to his keyboard as if it were a walker. His physical deterioration, however, didn't take away from the radiant enjoyment performing continues to give him. Dylan transitioned effortlessly from song to song, moving from newer songs to classics and all those in between. The band sounded great, albeit excessively loud to shift the focal point away from Bob and toward the band itself, this is also apparent in their stage formation.

After a shaky start, it became clear where the nights' highs and lows would be placed. Dylan plays his newer work with gusto and clarity. Some of my favorites included 'Cold Irons Bound' and 'Jolene.' However, his performances of classic Dylan selections left much to be desired. Some were so disheveled I needed to repeat the lyrics back to myself just to identify the song. See 'lay lady lay.' Others, 'Like a Rolling Stone' in particular, were painful attempts to recreate original recordings. During this rendition, Xtina and I had simultaneous feelings of being trapped inside a pbs fundraiser where living members of one-hit bands from the '60's are reunited to play staggered versions of their hits to adoring blue-haired fans.

Despite the upbeat performance, I feel saddened when I think about his lost abilities. I don't feel that Dylan could physically sit on a bar stool and play 'Mr. Tambourine Man.' His voice simply doesn't have the dexterity it once did. The few times Bob picked up the guitar Saturday night, it was for songs with only the simplest chord changes. This deterioration must be happening quickly. One of my favorite Dylan albums is this years release, 'Tell Tale Signs,' an album of b-sides and outtakes from the last decade-or-so of albums. And while you can tell the difference between a 90's track and a recent track on this record, I can't imagine present-day Dylan performing anywhere near this caliber.